By MIKE DAROZA
Here are three things you just might see during your college football Saturday.
|Tempers flared a couple of times during last year's Florida-Mississippi State game in Starkville. This photo was taken just at the conclusion of the first half as the teams got together for an exchange of words and shoves.|
Tonight, for the first time since he left Florida - following the Gators' 2008 BCS Championship season - Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen makes his return to Gainesville and The Swamp.
Florida's former offensive coordinator visits his former team during the No.22 Gators' homecoming amid a wave of mixed emotions.
They're just not Mullen's mixed emotions.
No, the mixed emotions are stemming from UF's well-documented struggles on offense, and the building grumbles and moans from a Gator Nation in the midst of a two-game losing streak.
If asked, most of those complaining would jump at the chance of having Mullen back, calling plays in lieu of Florida's current OC Steve Addazio.
Short memories must give way in the heat of the grind (losing), because even when the Gators were on their way to the second of two national championships with Mullen calling the plays, many of those same fans agonized over Mullen's "too predictable" offense.
It'll be interesting to see Mullen playing against former long-time mentor, Florida's coach Urban Meyer.
Plus, if you saw the Gators play the Bulldogs last year in Starkville (I was there), that game got extremely chippy, as these two teams had to be separated twice - engaging in mass shoving matches before kickoff and heading to the locker room at halftime.
Florida came out of that game with a closer-than-the-score- looked, 29-19, win.
Will the pupil finally take down the master?
Or, will the master's team lose their third straight game for the first time since 1988?
|When referees ruled that there would be :01 put back on the clock, it gave Texas and Mack Brown a victory that just seconds before looked like a Nebraska win in the Big XII Championship game last December.|
One "Second" Chance
The emotions may not be mixed when Texas visits No.5 Nebraska in Lincoln today, but the emotions should be running pretty high - for a couple of reasons.
On one hand, this game probably marks the last time these two will meet during the regular season, but definitely the final time they'll meet as Big XII conference foes.
During the off season, the Corhuskers defected the Big XII, and in 2011 will play in the Big Ten.
On the other hand, the last time these two met was in the Big XII Championship game back in December when it appeared Nebraska had pulled a stunning upset of the then-No.2 Longhorns.
During the waning moments, former Texas QB Colt McCoy's final pass that night sailed out of bounds and the game clock showed :00 - prompting a wild celebration on the Cornhuskers' bench.
The celebration was short-lived, however, as officials determined that time had not expired and placed :01 back on the clock.
The Longhorns kicked a field goal on the final play for the controversial, 13-12, win, sending them to the BCS title game and a deflated Nebraska to the Holiday Bowl.
So, will the Texas - the resident kingpin and flagship program of the Big XII - take an extra measure of motivation into the game because the Corhuskers are jilting their conference?
Or, will the Nebraska fans - long known for their overly polite treatment of visiting teams - still be steaming over a championship they came one second from winning?
|Will Stephen Garcia and South Carolina still be feeling the effects of a lingering hangover stemming from their historical win over Alabama last week?|
The Game After The Game
It should be interesting to watch and see how No.12 South Carolina handles their visit to Kentucky tonight after their Poll-Shaking upset of Alabama last week.
We've seen how Gamecocks QB Stephen Garcia has handled intense scrutiny and doubt in the past - not only from the fan base but also from his Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier.
Garcia endured all of it to turn in a career-best performance in the 35-21 win against the Tide, hand-delivering South Carolina their biggest (football) win in school history.
But, how does Garcia - and the rest of the Gamecocks - handle the media-darling side of the spectrum?
Do they become a "different South Carolina" team like Spurrier hopes they will and make last week's game a stepping stone by handling their business against the Wildcats?
Or, do they they relegate last week's game to a mere upset on the way to continued mediocrity?